Postfeminist Heterotopias: Negotiating ‘safe’ and ‘seedy’ in the British sex shop space

Adrienne Evans, Sarah Christine Riley, Avi Shankar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (SciVal)


This article contributes to debates concerning the sexualization of culture in the European context by analysing shifts in contemporary forms of British women’s (hetero)sexual sexual subjectivities in relation to consumer culture. The article employs a ‘heterotopological’ analysis of how space is materialized through history, power and discourse. A two-part analysis is employed that, first, maps the history of British sex shops in relation to two discourses of sexuality and consumption, namely ‘safe’ and ‘seedy’; and second, analyses how these discourses can be taken up and negotiated by young women today, as evidenced in a focus group discussion on ‘Ann Summers’. It concludes that new directions and interesting insights into the intersections of space, power, gender and sexuality within neoliberal postfeminist shifts in feminine identity can be made by considering female-oriented sex shops as ‘postfeminist heterotopias’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-229
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
Issue number3
Early online date19 Jul 2010
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • Ann Summers
  • heterotopia
  • postfeminism
  • sexualized culture


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